20 Food Swaps That Double Weight Loss
Want to double your weight loss? Cut your calories in half.
The researchers at Eat This, Not That! discovered these smarter swaps that will help you blast fat faster. With half the calories of their counterparts, you'll double your weight loss—without giving up your favorite foods. And to really rev up your fat-burning potential, don't miss our essential 50 Ways to Lose 10 Pounds — Fast.
Quaker Instant Oatmeal Original
Per 1 packet: 100 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 75 mg sodium, 19 g carbs (3 g fiber, 0 g sugars), 4 g protein
Nature's Path Organic Apple Cinnamon Hot Oatmeal
Per 1 packet: 210 calories, 2.5 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 100 mg sodium, 40 g carbs (4 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 5 g protein
With "apple" in the name of Nature's Path hot oatmeal, it sounds like this would be a healthy choice. But after organic rolled oats, the next ingredient on the nutrition panel is organic evaporated cane juice, a fancy form of sugar. The apples are dried apples, which lack the fiber and water content of healthy fresh fruit. At 11 grams of belly-fattening sugar per serving, you're better off slashing your calories by eating plain oatmeal and jazzing it up yourself with fresh fruit and a pinch of cinnamon. For more rapid weight loss tips, check out our special report: 14 Ways to Lose Your Belly in 14 Days.
Chobani Simply 100 Greek Yogurt, Vanilla
Per 5.3 oz container: 100 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 55 mg sodium, 13 g carbs (5 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 12 g protein
Greek Gods Greek Yogurt, Honey Vanilla
Per 6 oz container: 210 calories, 10 g fat (7 g saturated fat), 105 mg sodium, 25 g carbs (0 g fiber, 25 g sugar), 6 g protein
When it comes to picking yogurt, you should always look at the sugar and protein content: You want to have too much of the former, and as much as possible of the latter. Although there's naturally-occurring sugar in the form of lactose in yogurt, many brands (especially flavored brands) add even more to the ingredients. In the case of Greek Gods Yogurt, the Honey Vanilla flavor has a whopping 25 grams of sugar and just 6 grams of protein. The ingredients listed also include three different types of added sugar: cane sugar, brown cane sugar, and honey.
Chobani Simply 100 Greek Yogurt Vanilla, on the other hand, has just 6 grams of sugar and a filling 12 grams of protein in a 5.3-ounce container. This brand manages to keep the sugar low, although they do use pectin, locust bean, guar gum, and non-nutritive sweeteners like monk fruit and stevia leaf extract. When it comes to calories, sugar, fiber, and fat, however, it's by far the better option.
Bottled Iced Tea
Pure Leaf Unsweetened Real Brewed Tea
18.5 fl oz bottle: 0 calories, 0 mg sodium, 0 carbs (0 g sugar)
Pure Leaf Extra Sweet Tea
Per 18.5 fl oz bottle: 250 calories, 0 mg sodium, 65 g carbs (65 g sugar)
Tea is chock-full of antioxidants and can help you lose weight. Plain unsweetened tea, that is. Once you get into sweetened tea, you're looking at some dangerous levels of sugar. Pure Leaf's extra sweet tea makes good on their name, putting in a whopping 65 (!!!) grams of sugar into its 18.5-ounce bottle. That's more than you need in your entire day; the FDA recommends no more than 50 grams of added sugar each day. Even if you're not a fan of unsweet tea, you could add a packet or two of sugar into your tea and still save yourself 60 grams of sugar (1 sugar packet = 1 gram).
Per 1 cup: 100 calories, 2 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 140 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (3 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 3 g protein
Raisin Nut Bran
Per 1 cup: 240 calories, 4 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 280 mg sodium, 53 g carbs (8 g fiber, 19 g sugar), 5 g protein
Although we typically don't recommend cereal for breakfast (something with a little more protein would be best to round out your morning meal), cereal can still be a healthy weight-loss option in a pinch. But even healthy-sounding cereals can come packed with sugar. The second ingredient on Raisin Nut Bran's nutrition panel is sugar, after whole grain wheat. The cereal also includes a number of added sugars in the form of corn syrup, brown sugar syrup, and molasses, and uses unnecessary (and fattening!) vegetable oils, which might be worse than sugar, in the form of palm kernel oil and canola oil. Yikes! Although Cheerios contains added sugar, it only amounts to 1 gram per 1-cup serving. Top with fresh fruit for extra fiber, and some milk for added protein.
Wholly Guacamole Classic
Per 2 Tbsp: 50 calories, 4 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 75 mg sodium, 2 g carbs (2 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 1 g protein
Dean's Guacamole Flavored Dip
Per 2 Tbsp: 90 calories, 9 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 170 mg sodium, 2 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 1 g protein
Guacamole is a healthy dip and topping (in moderation). Made with heart-healthy avocados, the monounsaturated fats contain oleic acid, which will help you feel fuller longer. Wholly Guacamole does it right by only including mostly avocados, followed by jalapeno puree (white vinegar and jalapeno peppers), dehydrated onion, salt, and garlic. Deans Guacamole-Flavored Dip, on the other hand, has nary a real avocado in sight; the dip is made mostly from skim milk, oil, water, egg yolks, gelatin, and gums and gels. It's also colored with red, blue, and yellow food dyes. Opt for the one with waist-whittling avocados instead!
Cucina Antica Tomato Basil
Per 1/2 cup: 35 calories, 1.5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 240 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (2 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 1 g protein
Ragu Chunky Tomato, Garlic, and Onion
Per 1/2 cup: 90 calories, 2 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 460 mg sodium, 16 g carbs (2 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 2 g protein
Pasta sauce is one of those places where sugar is sneakily lurking. In the case of Ragu Chunky Tomato, Garlic and Onion, that's definitely the case; at 12 grams of sugar per half cup, that's more sugar than a bowl of Froot Loops cereal! It also contains fattening and pesticide-laden soybean oil, which definitely makes it a not-that. Opt for something cleaner, like Cucina Antica Tomato Basil. It's made with just 1 gram of sugar, and just 35 calories a serving. Plus, all the ingredients are simple: tomatoes, onions, heart-healthy extra virgin oil, salt, basil, and pepper. It's almost as good as homemade.
Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Original Unsweetened
Per 8 fl oz: 30 calories, 2.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 150 mg sodium, 1 g carbs (1 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 1 g protein
Blue Diamond Almond Breeze Original Sweetened
Per 8 fl oz: 60 calories, 2.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 190 mg sodium, 8 g carbs (1 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 1 g protein
Anything listed as "sweetened" is usually a weight loss saboteur. This is especially true for almond milk. Blue Diamond's original sweetened version lists cane sugar as the second ingredient, and packs in 7 grams of sugar per cup. For half the calories of the original, you can opt for the original unsweetened variety, which is truly unsweetened, with no sugar added.
Stubb's Original Bar-B-Q Sauce
Per 2 Tbsp: 25 calories, 0 g fat, 240 mg sodium, 6 g carbs (1 g fiber, 4 g sugar), 0 g protein
Sweet Baby Ray's Original Barbecue Sauce
Per 2 Tbsp: 70 calories, 0 g fat, 290 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (0 g fiber, 16 g sugar), 0 g protein
Nothing makes burgers, brats, and pulled pork taste as good as a sweet bottle of BBQ sauce. But some brands are sweeter than others and liberal with the added sugars. Sweet Baby Ray's claims it's the sauce that "started it all," but the ingredients start with high fructose corn syrup. Other added sugars include corn syrup and regular sugar. No wonder it clocks in at 16 grams per mere 2 tablespoon serving! Pick up something leaner and cleaner, like Stubb's, which is made with tomato paste, vinegar, spices, and sweetened with brown sugar, molasses, and cane sugar. At just 25 calories a serving, it's a guilt-free option (just make sure you stick to the serving size so as not to go overboard on the sugar).
Trader Joe's Organic King Coconut Water
Per 11.16 fl oz container: 45 calories, 0 g fat, 95 mg sodium, 11 g carbs (0 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 1 g protein
Vita Coco Pure Coconut Water
Per 16.9 fl oz container: 90 calories, 0 g fat, 25 mg sodium, 22 g carbs (0 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 0 g protein
Coconut water has become a health food staple and post-workout drink of choice, thanks to its hydrating electrolyte potassium content. But popular brands are often packed with sugar, like Vita Cocoa's Pure Coconut Water which also throws in some added sugars. Trader Joe's keeps its Organic King Coconut Water ingredients to just simply coconut water.
Starkist Solid Light Tuna in Water
Per 2 oz, drained: 60 calories, 0.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 150 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 15 g protein
Starkist Solid Light Tuna in Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Per 2 oz, drained: 120 calories, 7 g fat (1.5 g saturated fat), 160 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 14 g protein
Canned tuna is one of our 6 Best Fish for Weight Loss, and can easily be topped on a salad or whole grain toast for a healthy protein-packed meal. But not all canned tuna is created equal; if you're looking to cut back on fat and calories, opt for the fish packed in water instead of EVOO. Although EVOO is another great source of healthy fats, it should be enjoyed in moderation. Plus, the water-packed tuna has a little bit more muscle-building protein, too.
Julian Bakery Pegan Protein Bar Vanilla Cinnamon Twist
Per bar: 150 calories, 6 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 70 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (23 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 20 g protein
Exo Bar Cocoa Nut
Per bar: 300 calories, 20 g fat (4.5 g saturated fat), 45 mg sodium, 23 g carbs (7 g fiber, 13 g sugar), 10 g protein
Grabbing a nutrition bar in a hurry seems like a healthy way to curb cravings and settle an empty stomach, but some brands could actually be sabotaging your weight loss efforts. Some bars have enough calories to constitute a meal and as much sugar as a candy bar. Exo Bar Cocoa Nut uses cricket flour — yes, like the bug — for its protein content, but only comes up at 10 grams each bar for 13 grams of sugar and just 7 grams of fiber. Cut the calories in half with Julian Bakery Pegan's Protein Bar in Vanilla Cinnamon Twist, which clocks in at an impressive 20 grams of protein from organic pumpkin seed protein, and 23 grams of filling fiber from organic tapioca. At just 150 calories, it's a sweet snack you won't feel guilty about.
Melinda's Hot Sauce
Per 1 tsp: 0 calories, 0 g fat, 100 mg sodium, 0 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 0 g protein
Huy Fong Sriracha
Per 1 tsp: 5 calories, 0 g fat, 100 mg sodium, 1 g carbs (0 g fiber, 1 g sugar), 0 g protein
Hot sauce is not only a tasty condiment; it can help you torch fat, too. Chili peppers have been found to help reduce blood pressure, spike metabolism, and help burn brown fat, thanks to its active component capsaicin. But not all hot sauce is the same. As trendy is sriracha is, it's made with added sugar, which brings the calorie count to 5 per serving. This seems like nothing, but every gram of added sugar adds up. Reach for Melinda's Hot Sauce instead, which is made simply from red habanero peppers, fresh carrots, onions, lime juice, vinegar, garlic, and salt. With 0 calories a serving, you can douse your food in as much spicy sauce as your heart —
and your tongue —
Sargento Ultra Thin Sharp Cheddar Cheese Slices
Per slice: 43 calories, 3.5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 70 mg sodium, 0 g carbs, 3 g protein
Sargento Sliced Mild Cheddar Cheese
Per slice: 80 calories, 7 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 130 mg sodium, 0 g carbs, 5 g protein
Sure, cheese packs a good amount of fat and calories, but everything in moderation. In fact, cheese can easily fit into a healthy diet: it has protein, no sugar or refined carbs, and bone-building calcium. Just be sure to read your labels before you pick up any old cheese from the store. We like Sargento Ultra Thin Sharp Cheddar Cheese Slices. The thin slices mean each slice only clocks in at 43 calories and 3.5 grams of fat, while still retaining 3 grams of protein per slice. Compare that to Sargento's Sliced Mild Cheddar, which has 80 calories a slice and 7 grams of fat.
Trop50 No Pulp Calcium + Vitamin D
Per 8 fl oz: 50 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 10 mg sodium, 13 g carbs (0 g fiber, 10 g sugar), < 1 g protein
Tropicana Pure Premium Original
Per 8 fl oz: 110 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 0 mg sodium, 26 g carbs (0 g fiber, 22 g sugar), 2 g protein
In general, fruit juice isn't a great beverage when you're trying to lose weight. Sure, you get some vitamins from the fruit, but you're also getting a ton of liquid sugar (which converts to fat more easily than sugar found in food), and none of the belly-fighting fiber that you get from a piece of fruit. However, Trop50 makes their OJ a little more diet-friendly by watering it down, which means each serving is just 50 calories and 10 grams of sugar. Compared to Tropicana's Pure Premium Original, it's the clear winner (and a smart mixer for mimosas!).
Annie's Naturals Lite Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
Per 2 Tbsp: 40 calories, 3 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 125 mg sodium, 4 g carbs (0 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 0 g protein
Brianna's Dijon Honey Mustard
Per 2 Tbsp: 150 calories, 14 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 170 mg sodium, 8 g carbs (0 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 0 g protein
Salads chock-full of fresh veggies and lean protein are great for weight loss… until you drown them in fattening, high-calorie, and sugary dressings. Then it totally ruins the meal and stalls your weight-loss progress. Be sure to read your labels, and watch out for added sugars and too many calories. We like Annie's Naturals Lite Honey Mustard Vinaigrette; at just 40 calories a serving, it adds a tangy flavor to your salad without negating its nutritional benefits.
Boomchickapop Real Butter Popcorn
Per 1 cup: 60 calories, 5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 5 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 0 g protein
Boomchickapop Dark Chocolaty Drizzled Sea Salt
Per 1 cup: 120 calories, 7 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 15 g carbs (2 g fiber, 8 g sugar), 1 g protein
Bagged popcorn is one of our favorite snacks for weight loss, thanks to its relatively low calorie and fat count. It gets tricky, however, when you start adding sugary toppings. Like the name suggests, Boomchickapop's Dark Chocolaty Drizzled Sea Salt is drizzled with cane sugar, palm and palm kernel oil, and a mysterious "natural flavor." This brings the calorie count up to 120 per cup, and 7 grams of fat. Keep it simple with the butter flavor: the only ingredients are popcorn, clarified butter, sunflower oil, and sea salt. You'll cut the calories in half, and still be able to enjoy a crunchy snack.
Lean Cuisine Marketplace Sweet Sriracha Braised Beef
Per entree: 170 calories, 4 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 550 mg sodium, 18 g carbs (3 g fiber, 11 g sugar), 15 g protein
Lean Cuisine Favorites Five Cheese Rigatoni
Per entree: 360 calories, 8 g fat (4 g saturated fat), 560 mg sodium, 56 g carbs (4 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 15 g protein
Frozen dinners seem like a quick and easy option, especially under the brand name Lean Cuisine. But not all entrees are that diet-friendly. Although 360 calories are fine for a meal, there are other lighter Lean Cuisines available than the Five Cheese Rigatoni. If you're in a pinch for dinner, pick up the Marketplace Sweet Sriracha Beef instead. At just 170 calories but 15 grams of muscle-building protein, it makes for a smarter choice (enjoy alongside a serving of steamed veggies for a complete meal).
Starbucks Black Coffee Unsweetened
Per 11 fl oz bottle: 15 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated), 0 mg sodium, 3 g carbs (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 1 g protein
Starbucks Bottled Mocha Frappuccino Coffee Drink
Per 13.7 fl oz bottle: 260 calories, 4.5 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 140 mg sodium, 47 g carbs (1 g fiber, 45 g sugar), 9 g protein
Coffee perks you up in the morning, is the original pre-workout, and can help you burn calories faster (among other healthy benefits). But that's if you sip it in its purest, blackest form. Once you add in creamer and sugar, you're looking at a boatload of extra calories, and tons of added sugar. Starbucks Bottled Mocha Frappuccino packs a whopping 45 grams of sugar and 260 calories per 13.7 fluid ounce bottle —
and that's before you've had anything to eat! You're better off sticking to the plain unsweetened black coffee, which has 0 grams of sugar and just 15 calories. Add your own sugar if you're so inclined; a couple packets will still be drastically less sugar than the bottled version. In general, it's a good idea to eat, not drink, your calories.
Annie's Organic Homegrown Tomato Soup
Per 1 cup: 100 calories, 1.5 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 670 mg sodium, 20 g carbs (2 g fiber, 12 g sugar), 2 g protein
Campbell's Slow Kettle Style Tomato & Sweet Basil Bisque
Per 1 cup: 290 calories, 16 g fat (10 g saturated fat, 0.5 g trans fat), 790 mg sodium, 33 g carbs (2 g fiber, 24 g sugar), 4 g protein
What's heartier and more wholesome than a bowl of tomato soup? When that tomato soup packs a whole 290 calories in just one cup. Campbell's Slow Kettle Style Tomato & Sweet Basil Bisque gets fancy with the name but overdoes it in the nutrition department. The 290 calories and 16 grams of fat are coming from the sugar, butter, cream, and extra virgin olive oil. Compare that to the just 100 calories 1.5 grams of fat in Annie's Organic Homegrown Tomato Soup, which is made mostly of tomato puree, with sugar, cornstarch, and spices. Although 12 grams of sugar isn't ideal, it's still half of the Campbell's Slow Kettle version, and a much smarter choice. For more healthy soups, check out our 20 Best-Ever Fat Burning Soups
Cookie Dough Ice Cream
Halo Top Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Per 1/2 cup: 90 calories, 3 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 16 g carbs (3 g fiber, 7 g sugar), 5 g protein
Haagen-Dazs Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Per 1/2 cup: 300 calories, 17 g fat (11 g saturated fat), 30 g carbs (0 g fiber, 23 g sugar), 4 g protein
Chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream seems like the ultimate guilty pleasure treat, but it doesn't have to be that way. Halo Top is a diet-friendly way to curb those ice cream cravings. Made with real milk and cream and sweetened with sugar and organic stevia, Halo Top's Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream is only 90 calories a serving, and just 3 grams of fat. Compare that to Haagen-Dazs Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, which is sweetened with corn syrup along with sugar and brown sugar, and packs a whopping 300 calories in just one half cup serving. And the good news is, Halo Top isn't just any "diet" ice cream; it tastes pretty darn delicious. And to turbocharge your fat burn, don't miss these 20 Food Combos to Triple Your Weight Loss.